S. ‘Soma’ Somasegar

Microsoft just announced a public preview of a new service called Visual Studio Online that extends many of its services for software development teams to the cloud, including source control features and Git support. The service puts Microsoft in more direct competition with the popular GitHub development service, at a lower price in some cases.

The Redmond company is announcing the new service this morning as part of its Visual Studio 2013 launch event. It’s a new effort by Microsoft to adapt its traditional software development tools to the way developers are now working and collaborating.

Microsoft is also previewing a new browser-based coding tool called Monaco, as part of the Visual Studio Online service, to complement its traditional desktop development environment. The Monaco browser-based development tool will work initially with Windows Azure websites, letting developers edit sites from the web.

“We are taking the next huge step forward in the Visual Studio journey,” said S. “Soma” Somasegar, vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division, in an interview earlier this week. “We are getting into a whole new era for Visual Studio.”

Visual Studio Online will be free for teams up to five users, and included in Microsoft’s MSDN subscriptions, with additional users starting at $10/month under Microsoft’s introductory pricing.

For some smaller teams, that could provide an alternative to GitHub, which lets developers work for free with public code repositories but charges between $7/month and $50/month for those who want to work with private code repositories.

The Visual Studio Online service takes elements of Microsoft’s Team Foundation Service to the cloud. That includes the option to work with the Git open-source version control system in addition to Microsoft’s own Team Foundation Version Control.

Other features include a hosted build service, elastic load testing and application insights, providing data about how an application is being used.

GitHub reports more than 4 million users, and earlier this year raised $100 million from Andreeseen Horowitz with a goal of expanding its technology for use by a variety of professions beyond software developers.

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  • BruntLIVE

    Erik Estrada?

  • Guest

    Too little, way way WAY too late!

  • Ivan Burazin

    Microsoft creates a Cloud IDE about 5 years after the likes of Codeanywhere & Cloud9, but still the first “big” company to make the switch!

  • saty

    Everything seems to be Cloud nowadays!

  • Jeffery A. Sharp

    I don’t think developers will see it as “direct competition” Git is a distributed version control system. A simple scenario would be that Visual Studio Online would be great when using Visual Studio IDE and hosting dev repositories, and then pushing to a “blessed repository” on github to open source or for releases.

  • Alfredo Carranza

    I think it’s a step in the right direction. More use of Git will help get developers up to speed across the board so they don’t have to be old foggies like me using SVN or TFS.

    I’ve jumped between TFS, SVN, & Git over the past couple of years & there has been a bit of a learing curve with Git for myself & some of the developers I work with.

    Here is a small primer I put together for getting started with github + visual studio

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